Canada's First Urban Wind Turbine - Not Your Average Windmill
This wind turbine was inspired by a group of Toronto residents who had a dream of cleaner energy and cleaner air. Their vision came alive through a joint venture partnership of Toronto Hydro Energy Services and the WindShare Co-operative, who jointly constructed the wind turbine on December 18, 2002. The turbine is a good example of how communities can work together to meet their electricity needs and address global issues of air pollution and climate change.
This is the first wind turbine erected in the City of Toronto and the first in a downtown urban setting in North America. It stands thirty stories tall and has the capacity to power up to 250 homes. Electricity from the wind yields no emissions, no waste, and is 100% green.
The 750 kW turbine has displaced 815 tonnes of CO2 emissions since it was commissioned and generated 2,864,768 kWhrs.
Toronto Hydro Energy Services is a producer of alternative, clean and green power, and energy efficiency products and services, serving customers across Ontario. It is an affiliate of Toronto Hydro Corporation, incorporated in July 1999 with the City of Toronto its sole shareholder.
WindShare is the first wind power co-op in North America and it owns 50% of this wind turbine. WindShare is a community initiative born out of the Toronto Renewable Energy Co-operative, whose mission is to provide clean, renewable energy at cost to members. WindShare members are individuals, families and businesses. Four hundred and twenty-one original members each purchased a minimum of $500 shares in the co-op in order to fund half the capital costs of this wind turbine. WindShare sells its share of the electricity, and members receive a dividend based on net proceeds.
WindShare drew its inspiration from Denmark where 26% of the country's total wind power is owned by co-operatives. Denmark generates about 30% of its electricity from wind power, and turbine manufacturing is a top export industry, employing 20,000 people. Denmark's success with wind power is due to the commitment and investment of its citizens.
Wind energy is a proven technology, viable and competitive on a large scale. Canada's wind resources are among the world's best. Our priority should be to accelerate market penetration and provide the support required for the industry to reach the scale at which it will be competitive with other forms of energy.
Canadian Wind Energy Association 2001
How Wind Power Works
The 29 metre-long blades of the wind turbine captures wind, which then turns rotors to produce electricity. Locating wind turbines near the lakeshore allows the blades to capture the best wind production flowing over Lake Ontario with no obstructions. Wind is a renewable energy source and is a resource that cannot be depleted. Wind turbines produce no air pollution, no water pollution, and use very little land. They are safe for birds and generate little noise.
The wind turbine at the Exhibition Place:
- produces up to 1000 megawatt hours of electricity annually (enough to light 250 homes)
- displaces up to 272 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually equivalent to:
- 59 Passenger cars not driven for one year
- 49 Passenger cars and light trucks not driven for one year
- 25,816 Gallons of gasoline
- 633 US Barrels of oil
- 3.65 Tanker trucks filled with gasoline
- 6,974 Number of tree seedlings grown for 10 years
- 227 Acres of pine or fir forests storing carbon for one year
- 2.23 Acres of forest preserved from deforestation
- 11,333 Propane cylinders used for home barbeques
- 1.38 Railcars of coal burned
- 92 Tons of waste recycled instead of landfilled
- spins at about 21 times per minute
- stands 94 metres tall (30 storeys)